Going into last season, Josh Hart wasn’t the most hyped rookie on the Los Angeles Lakers. That title, of course, belonged to none other than No. 2 overall pick Lonzo Ball.
He also wasn’t the flashiest rookie, as that honor was quickly given to Kyle Kuzma after his breakout performances in summer league.
However, in spite of all that, the No. 30 overall pick quickly became a fan favorite because he did all of the little things that didn’t always show up in the box score. In an interview with Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times, Hart said he prides himself in doing whatever it takes to help his team win.
“I dive on the floor for a loose ball, I take charges, I play great defense, or at least I try to play great defense, rebound, hustle plays, things that aren’t flashy and don’t show up on stat sheets,” Hart said. “I don’t go out there and think ‘Oh, I’m gonna go out there and just play ugly,’ I go with the mind-set I’m going to do whatever I can to help this team win.”
Unfortunately, Hart hasn’t been able to do the little things that the coaching staff and the fans love him for as of late. Hart suffered an ankle sprain against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, and it’s noticeably held him back on the court.
Since the injury, Hart has scored 4 points in 51 minutes on 2-7 shooting from the field, including 0-5 shooting from behind the arc. In the 16 games prior, Hart was averaging 11.1 points while shooting a team-high 43.4 shooting from 3-point land.
Hart did not practice with the team on Monday and instead received treatment on his ankle, but according to head coach Luke Walton, Hart is expected to suit up and play against the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday.
Coming off of a disappointing loss to the Orlando Magic, having a relatively healthy Hart would give the Lakers a nice boost off of the bench, but if he needs time to settle back into his role, Walton and his coaching staff will have to adjust accordingly.
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